The GoGlobal Blog

The Playground of My Peers

The Playground of My Peers

The playground of the rich and famous: The French Riviera! Last weekend I boarded a bus with 25 other Erasmus students and made the 8 hour drive to the Cote D’Azur (as the French call it) to enjoy a relaxing weekend. We arrived at our hotel in Nice and quickly made our way to our rooms after a full night of driving. I woke myself up early in order to stroll around the streets of Nice and start warming up my French vocabulary from high school and that my French friends in Barcelona taught me. It proved quite useful as I was the only person in our entire group that was able to speak French! I stopped at Cafe Malongo, a boutique espresso and tea cafe, to sip a café au lait and bask in the morning sun. I caught up with the rest of the group at the hotel and we made our way to the train station to head for Monaco, the city/country north of Nice. The 30 minute train ride is entirely along the coast and passes through big and small towns on the way; it provided quite the view of what to expect throughout the Cote D’Azur.

We arrived in Monaco and made a beeline for the harbor to “ooh” and “aah” at the boats, yachts, super yachts, and mega yachts. After we scraped our jaws off the docks, we walked along a path up the hillside in order to reach the castle of the Royal Family of Monaco. The whole harbor and much of the coastline was visible from atop the hill and it was clear that the luxurious lifestyle of Monaco continued along the seaside. While the group paused to take pictures with the magnificent background, I ducked away and started exploring the smaller side-streets nearby. The boulangeries and pâtisseries that lined the streets were stocked with fresh bread and sweet delights, the catalyst to the floodgates opening in my mouth. Succumbing to a temptation that even the most devout couldn’t resist, I nibbled (scarfed may be more accurate) on some macaroons of the utmost quality.

I rendezvoused with my friends at the church home to the tombs of the Royal Family of Monaco and paid my respects to Princess Grace Kelly and the rest of the deceased royals. We then all took lunch-I devoured a fresh tuna fish sandwich with olives, tomatoes, lettuce, and oil and vinegar-and meandered back down the hillside toward the harbor. We made a quick pitstop at the Ferrari garage and I still question whether they actually work on the cars or just display them for all to see. As the group stood with mouths agape at the beautiful craftsmanship, I took the opportunity to duck into more side-streets to read the menus and investigate what the plats du jour were for each restaurant. After my cuisinal curiosity was satisfied, I asked a shop owner which way to the Monte Carlo Casino and set off to find fame and fortune in the legendary lap of luxury.

While I was unable to enter the casino because I was under-dressed, I was able to see the caliber of individuals entering and exiting the establishment and I cannot wait to be one of them. Next to the casino is the Café de Paris with plenty of outdoor seating to grab a café au lait and drink up the atmosphere. It was starting to cool down with the seabreeze so we decided to make our way back to the train and head back to Nice for the night.

All in all Monaco was a captivating city and I am eager to return with a disposable income. Also, I still have the hardest time taking Kelly Grace seriously after the MadTV skit.

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